Europe Wrap Up

Trip Start Apr 09, 2006
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Trip End Jun 09, 2007


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Flag of Austria  , Vienna,
Thursday, August 17, 2006

I've spent the last few days seeing a bit of Vienna and getting sorted for my move to Asia. Vienna is a lovely city, but as I've already alluded I'm ready for a change. It's also quite expensive here - Austria is unquestionably the most expensive place I've visited on my journey thus far. Accommodation is higher and often excludes breakfast. Transport is also high. For example, I paid approximately $30USD for my overnight, 11-hour train from Budapest to Krakow (crossing two borders in the process). My ticket for the 3.5-hour train ride from Salzburg to Vienna (all in the same country) was nearly $60USD. I don't get it.

And don't get me going about drinking on the Euro. Whew!

Central and Eastern Europe - Highlights
*The Greek Isles are all that they're cracked up to be and more. Anyone can find something to like or enjoy there - relaxed beaches, 7AM parties, shopping, water sports...you can't go wrong.

*The Carpathian Mountains are simply stunning and were a great change of scenery from my previous destinations. Skip the capitols of Bulgaria and Romania and focus your time in the mountainous regions near Veliko Tarnovo and Brasov.

*Of the 'larger' cities in the region Krakow and Budapest offered all the fame and fanfare with much fewer tourists or distractions.

*The immense history of Central and Eastern Europe provided endless hours of entertainment. I very much enjoyed the bike tours I took in a few of the cities - peddling around while learning the ins and outs of how each city came to be.

Central and Eastern Europe - Lowlights
*To beat the dead horse, many of the cities in the region can be jam-packed-to-the-gills with freakin' package tourists. Yes, I knew before coming in July and August that the crowds would be an issue, and yes, I caused my own frustration. But seriously, people of the world: take five minutes to look away from your guide's umbrella or your camcorder screen and ACTUALLY EXPERIENCE a different place. Enough said.

*The food in the region is, on average, very, very good. I know that should be a highlight but I'll be carrying a few extra el-bees with me to the beaches of Thailand! Prepare yourself for some ugly pictures!!
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